Erling Haaland pursued his hometown club with a second-half brace as Manchester City beat Leeds United 3-1 on their return to the Premier League on Wednesday.
Haaland, who was born in Leeds when his father Alf-Inge was representing the Whites, missed two good chances as the champions dominated the first half but Rodri put them ahead at half-time.
After the break, the Norwegian striker could not be denied, he scored a goal due to an error of the hosts’ captain Liam Cooper, and then doubled with a shot with his right foot.
This meant Haaland scored 20 Premier League goals in record time in his 14th appearance to help City slip back into second place despite the consolation of Pascal Strake.
20 – Erling Haaland became the fastest player to score 20 Premier League goals in 14 games:
14 – Erling Haaland
21 – Kevin Phillips
23 – Andrew Cole
26 – Ruud van Nistelrooy
26 – Diego Costa
26 – Tony Yeboah
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 28, 2022
City nearly took the lead at 36 seconds but Illan Mellier had a hand in Haaland’s flimsy shot after the striker freed Nathan Ake.
The Leeds goalkeeper made another one-on-one save from Haaland at the half-hour mark before Jack Grealish squandered two egregious opportunities to break the stalemate – a second horrific mistake due to Rico Lewis’ cut.
However, the hosts’ resistance was finally broken in stoppage time of the first half when Rodri rushed home when Mellier turned down Riyad Mahrez after a smooth run by the Citizens.
Leeds became a master of their fall five minutes into the restart as a sloppy pass from Cooper allowed Grealish to take possession of the ball and beat Haaland for an easy finish.
Haaland had his second of the game just after an hour, Mellier couldn’t hold his powerful right foot.
Leeds closed the gap 17 minutes after Struik headed Sam Greenwood off Ederson, although City managed to finish the game despite threats from Joe Gelhardt.
What does this mean? City stay on Arsenal’s coattails
Arsenal’s victory over West Ham on Boxing Day meant City started the match on Wednesday eight points behind the leaders, with Pep Guardiola’s men even dropping to third in the table after Newcastle United’s victory over Leicester City”.
However, City showed no signs of nervousness in a dominant game at Elland Road, scoring 26 tries and creating an impressive 4.20 xG to the hosts’ 0.59.
Ederson was mostly down to watching the away goal with Leeds giving him nothing but their late goal as City cut Arsenal’s lead at the top.
Erling feels better than father after historic homecoming
Haaland had already missed two clear opportunities before he turned into an empty net and scored 19 goals in 14 Premier League appearances – one more than his father had scored in 181 games in the tournament.
The striker’s second goal of the game saw him score 20 Premier League goals in a record time, with the indomitable Norwegian scoring seven games less than previous record holder Kevin Phillips.
Super Jack bounces back
Grealish appeared to be in the mood for a disappointing performance after missing two chances to open the scoring before half-time, but the England international bounced back from those blunders to give a creative masterclass after the break.
Failing to help in any of his first 17 games in all competitions this season, Grealish quickly beat Haaland twice, while only Mahrez (six) and De Bruyne (four) improved their tally of three chances created.
Host City take on Everton in their last Premier League game of 2022 on Saturday, while Leeds round out the year with a trip to the tall Newcastle United on the same day.